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Basic Instinct (1992)

R  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Thriller  |  20 March 1992 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 124,382 users   Metascore: 41/100
Reviews: 290 user | 117 critic | 28 from

A police detective is in charge of the investigation of a brutal murder, in which a beautiful and seductive woman could be involved.



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Title: Basic Instinct (1992)

Basic Instinct (1992) on IMDb 6.9/10

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lieutenant Nilsen (as Daniel Von Bargen)
Dr. Lamott
Bill Cable ...


A former rock star, Johnny Boz, is brutally killed during sex, and the case is assigned to detective Nick Curran of the SFPD. During the investigation, Nick meets Catherine Tramell, a crime novelist who was Boz's girlfriend when he died. Catherine proves to be a very clever and manipulative woman, and though Nick is more or less convinced that she murdered Boz, he is unable to find any evidence. Later, when Nilsen, Nick's rival in the police, is killed, Nick suspects of Catherine's involvement in it. He then starts to play a dangerous lust-filled mind game with Catherine to nail her, but as their relationship progresses, the body count rises and contradicting evidences force Nick to start questioning his own suspicions about Catherine's guilt. Written by Soumitra

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Flesh seduces. Passion kills. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence and sensuality, and for drug use and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

20 March 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Love Hurts  »

Box Office


$49,000,000 (estimated)


$117,727,224 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (unrated)

Sound Mix:

| (France)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Paul Verhoeven was so intent on making the sex scenes as explicitly as the censors would allow, that he showed the studio executives very detailed storyboards depicting what he had in mind, as to avoid later discussions about the graphic nature of the love scenes. See more »


When Nick Curran is hit by the Lotus, the left pop-up headlight is damaged. It's OK for the next shots of the car chase. See more »


Nick: What is this? Some kind of JOKE?
See more »


References The 4th Man (1983) See more »


Movin' On Up
Written by Jeff Barry and Ja'net DuBois (as Janet DuBois)
Courtesy of ELP Communications
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Classic Verhoeven
1 November 2002 | by (Calgary, Alberta) – See all my reviews

Paul Verhoeven is one of my favorite directors. His movies are so damn entertaining. They always, well I should say most of the time, have wit and intelligence [Forget 'Showgirls' and 'Hollow Man', any director can make mistakes] and have either graphic sex or violence or both. 'Basic Instinct' is in the latter category. It is so erotic and Stone and Douglas have so much sexual chemistry that when you look at an Adrian Lyne film, you see them for the crap they are.

Basic plotline has Stone's character, 'Catherine Tramell', accused of the vicious sex murder of a retired rock and roll star. Douglas's character has a strange attraction to her, which may not lead to good things..... Paul Verhoven has openly admitted that this film is a homage to Alfred Hitchcock's classic masterpiece 'Vertigo'. In fact, Stone wears, in sequence, the same wardrobe as Kim Novak did [which makes you wonder, was she wearing panties under her clothes]. That brings us to the interrogation scene, which is the best in the movie. Stone shamelessly flirts with the cops' libidos until the buildup of sexual tension is so great, Stone releases it by playing 'peek-a-boo' with the space in between her legs. Every male viewer cherishes that scene, simply because it is so sexy. That word can be used throughout the film, as Stone and Douglas do the mattress mumbo. At the time, the sex scenes were so realistic that the press went wild and debated whether or not viewers were witnessing un-simulated sex. The film is still quite sexually daring today and has an intriguing spider's web plot too. The plot's twists and turns manage to make the movie sexier as the viewer wonders whether Sharon is innocent or guilty..........

The film's only misstep occurs at the end, with an unsatisfactory ending that makes the whole film seem like some stupid, contrived game. But it's not. It keeps it's fascination and it's sexiness and its suspense right up till the end, which is what a good erotic thriller should. Actually, the ending for some will lead to a lot of discussion if you watch the film with someone, as the film toys with two of the film's characters innocence or guilt and does not give up all its secrets.....

The film is great Verhoeven. It has his usual, hilarious, seemingly inappropriate kinky humor and extreme sex and violence to match. The fact that Verhoeven is actually able to balance the film and make it funny and sexy is wonderful film-making. Well, have I said 'sexy' enough times? Then go rent it.........8/10

P.S. If you like this one, check out Verhoevens' Dutch film ''The Fourth Man''. It has a similar plot and even a similar character that resembles Catherine Tramell. If the ending of 'Basic Instinct' leaves you wanting, check that film out. It is even better than 'Basic' and is more 'arty'. It is also a little bit more daring erotically.

51 of 68 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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